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I know it’s cliche and being posted everywhere, but a lot of businesses are learning from 2019 in big ways.

Most are learning their lessons from one of the worst tax seasons in history, but what a lot of businesses are forgetting is how much marketing changed in 2019.

The accounting world is starting to embrace the world of marketing more and more every year, but it is embracing antiquated methodologies that are not necessarily going to work in their favor.

What do I mean by that?

I’m going to cover just one aspect of marketing in this blog post. There are many antiquated methodologies that I’ll cover throughout the months of 2020, but this one is the most important in my mind.

Email marketing.

You might have heard the statement “grow your list” shoved down your throat at a conference, on a webinar, or on social media. If you listened, you also probably heard that growing your list is important because you own the list.

It’s true. You don’t own your followers on social media. You don’t own your profiles on social media. In fact, Instagram is famous for putting profiles in “jail” or deleting accounts without warning for violating its terms of service.

Facebook (which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp) had its longest outage in March 2019. It took 24 hours for Facebook to give the all-clear to the users and regain full functionality, according to this article from The Verge.

Twenty-four hours with no social media.

It might sound like a teenager’s worst nightmare, but in reality, it was a business owner’s worst nightmare. That’s if you’re a business owner relying solely on social media for lead generation and sales.

Do you know who it wasn’t a nightmare for? Business owners with an engaged email list.

The key point to take from that statement is an engaged email list.

Those who have an engaged email list didn’t sweat at all. In fact, they most likely took advantage of the downtime and sent an email to their list to drive traffic to their desired platform — their website.

How do you go about growing an engaged email list?

You have to give them something they want. Something they have an investment in. Something they have to take action on. Something they will give you their “good” email address in exchange for. (Their good email address is the email address they actually check, not the email address they use to just get the coupon codes.)

Gone are the days of freebies, freemiums, and lead magnets that grow an engaged email list. Those are great to build your list, but if you look at your analytics in your software, how many of those people are actually opening up the subsequent emails you send?

I’m guessing very few.

In 2019, there were 3.9 billion global email users. In 2023, that number is estimated to grow to 4.3 billion global users, according to Statista.

In 2019, it is estimated that the average worker received 121 emails a day.

How do you compete? You grow an engaged email list.

To help grow your list, your click-through rates, your open rate, and your overall client retention and repeat sales through email marketing, you have to change the way you look at your list.

This is where quality over quantity comes into play. I’m going to give you my playbook on how to do this.

First, you’ll want to scrub your email list frequently for those who do not open your emails and emails that bounce.

Then, you’ll want to provide irresistible value in your emails that people will be waiting for you to email them.

What do I mean by “irresistible value?” Industry reports, checklists, templates, and the like are a dime a dozen these days, and they don’t work anymore.

People want more. People expect more.

Some ideas that are working within the accounting industry include these:

Run a seven-day challenge for your clients that incorporates social media, video, and email in the challenge. This way, they have to open their emails and interact with the content in some shape or form.

Perfect your storytelling in your emails. Leave a cliffhanger for them to have to open the next email.

Offer a no-brainer upsell in your email that so irresistibly compliments what the person just received that they cannot say no.

What do I mean by a no-brainer upsell? This is a product or service offer that is low cost and is a quick impulse, “Heck, yes!” by your client.

For example: If you own a full-service accounting firm, you could run a seven-day challenge based on learning new updates for your preferred accounting system. Then, at the end of the challenge, you offer a 30-minute one-on-one call to go over what they learned and any questions specific to their business.

At the end of a challenge that goes over learning new updates to a system you use daily, who wouldn’t want to have a one-on-one call with the professional?

See? No-brainer.

Then you’ll want to test.

Test subject lines, layouts, visuals, personalization, templates … you get the idea. Test everything. The email marketing tool you’re using should be able to provide this data for you in a report.

Once you find out what is working, all you have to do is rinse, repeat, and more importantly, have fun with it.

These types of strategies are what 2020 is going to be all about when it comes to effective email marketing.

What have you tried with your email marketing to increase your open rates and click-through rates?

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